The former CFO of the UK software firm Autonomy has been convicted of fraud in the US- the first judgement in a legal battle that has raged since tech giant Hewlett Packard (HP) acquired the software company for £7.1bn in 2011.

Sushovan Hussain was found guilty of artificially inflating Autonomy’s financial position before it was sold, which his lawyers say he will appeal.

Prosecutors argued that starting in 2009, senior managers at Autonomy sought to inflate the company’s share price and make the firm more attractive to potential buyers by artificially boosting the number of transactions on its balance sheet.

The conviction is the latest twist in a saga that began when HP said it had uncovered accounting irregularities at Autonomy. A year later, it was forced to write off most of the value of the software firm.

However the story unfolds, it raises questions about what exactly is being acquired in companies where so much asset value is intangible.